Few players have been more controversial in recent years for Villa than Ashley Westwood. There have been much worse players overall, from Kieran Richardson to Micah Richards, but Westwood’s inconsistency in the midfield has led to the rise of staunchly pro-Westwood and anti-Westwood factions amongst Villa fans. As of Monday evening, it appears that the anti-Westwood camp will receive the news it has long been yearning for, as John Percy of the Telegraph reports that Burnley, currently 13th in the Premier League, will acquire Westwood for £5 million.
Westwood has suffered through some pretty extreme abuse from Villa fans at times, but never reacted in a negative way and always carried himself with dignity, giving his all for the club. Burnley’s willingness to part with £5 million for Westwood is slightly surprising and, on the surface, is a great piece of business from Steve Bruce. In a world where Rudy Gestede was only worth £6 million, to get almost the same value for Westwood, a player markedly less impactful on any match, is quite a coup. Looking at it from the opposite side, to acquire Henri Lansbury and Conor Hourihane for the price of Ashley Westwood is nothing other than highway robbery.
All things considered, I wish Westwood success at Burnley. Perhaps a change of scenery will see him elevate his standard of play, and his industrious work ethic and passion will suit Burnley’s identity well. He has always been a competent distributor of the ball, and with increased defensive strength he will be a useful asset for Burnley. It is time for both Villa and Westwood to move on from each other, and a move to Burnley for such a fee makes sense for both sides.